James Madison Papers

To James Madison from DeWitt Clinton (Abstract), 10 April 1805

§ From DeWitt Clinton

10 April 1805, New York. “I enclose you a recommendation in favor of Peter Totten1 for Consul at St Croix. In addition to this I may mention that he is strongly recommended for that office by Counceller Bentzon of that Island in a letter to the Swedish Consul of this City—who informs me that Bentzon is one of the most respectable and influential members of the Govt. of the Danish West Indies.2

“I have no personal knowledge of Mr Totten and my only motive in making this communication is to furnish the Govt. with information on a subject which altho’ of no great consequence generally may be of some importance to the commercial interests of this City.”

Letterbook copy (NNC: DeWitt Clinton Papers). 1 p.

1Peter Totten had been acting vice-consul at St. Croix since 1801. On 23 Feb. 1807 Jefferson named Thomas Gamble of Pennsylvania to the consular post. Gamble appears not to have assumed the position, and Totten was acting as consul in March 1807 (petition of New Haven merchants to Jefferson, 13 July 1804 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–9, filed under “Totten”]; Senate Exec. Proceedings, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1828). description ends 2:49; Totten to JM, 20 Mar. 1807 [DNA: RG 59, CD, St. Croix, vol. 1]). See also Richard H. Wilcocks to JM, 21 Jan. 1804, PJM-SS, description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 6:373–74 and n. 1.

2Adrian Benjamin Bentzon married John Jacob Astor’s daughter Magdalen in 1807. He served as Astor’s agent in negotiations with the American and Russian governments for diplomatic accommodations and for commercial privilege and cooperation in the Pacific Northwest on numerous occasions from 1810 through 1814. He was governor-general of the Danish West Indies from 1816 to 1820 (New-York Weekly Museum, 10 Oct. 1807; James P. Ronda, Astoria & Empire [Lincoln, Neb., 1990], 78–86, 267–68, 304–5; N. A. T. Hall, “Maritime Maroons: Grand Marronage from the Danish West Indies,” WMQ, description begins William and Mary Quarterly. description ends 3d ser., 42 [1985]: 489; Henige, Colonial Governors, 10).

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